Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Why Vote? Well if you have to ask...

Today I voted. With the exception of the very first election I was eligible to vote in, I haven't missed a one. I've cast my votes not just for presidents, but for senators, representatives, state legislators, county administrators, local law enforcement officials, mayors, town councilpersons, and more. I'm very proud of my long years of voter participation,

My sister is equally proud of the fact.that she's never voted. After all, she says, they're all crooks.

Well, perhaps it may seem like Hobson's Choice -- pick the crook or don't -- but there's a little more to it than that. At worst, it's more a matter of degree. Would you rather be attacked by 50 duck-sized horses, or 50 horse-sized ducks? Most people seem to have an opinion on that one!

So even if the choice isn't between two (or more) of the most qualified candidates for the position,  there's still real choice. When it comes to crooks, do you prefer the bank robber or the shoplifter? "None of the above," isn't an option, so which do you prefer?

When you choose not to vote at all, you're really saying "I'll let someone else decide." Unlike organizations that use Robert's Rules of Order, there are no quorums in our elections. If only three out of 3,000 registered voters show up to vote, then majority rules, and a candidate is elected. (If only two people show up to vote, then there might need to be a run-off, ) If only one shows up, then it's a landslide.

You're non-participation doesn't keep the crooks out. If you think that there are only crooks on the ballot, then know that at least one will get it. "No" isn't an option -- only the choice between the lesser of two evils. So if you feel you really at all the candidates are crooks, then I encourage you to chose that lesser evil by voting. 

Because if you don't, then I get to decide. And I may have a different opinion than you.


  1. Thanks, Ralph. Nicely said! I once decided to enter a Jefferson Society debate (or was it a Washington Society debate?) held in Jefferson Hall one year on this topic, just in order to request that my best friend "listen to me practice" so that I could secretly persuade her to vote along similar lines to your own argument here. It did have an effect, though. She had never voted and now she always votes and oddly enough she reminded me to vote this morning -- completely in earnest! I didn't win the "debate" that night (there were several folks who were stellar competitors who then later went through UVa Law School), but I completed the task I had assigned to myself and had a lvery memorable evening on the West Range. Perhaps your sister will read what you've written here, and you will have won her over, as well! : )

  2. Ginger:

    If only! If anything, it may strengthen her resolve never to vote just because I urged her to! Nevertheless, if it makes other people think -- as your debate did -- then it's all worthwhile. Thanks for the comment. I *know* this makes sense to me. I'm not always sure I express things in a way that makes sense to others.